Messaging apps are on the rise, and retail giant Amazon wants a piece of the action. Amazon is reportedly working on a full-feature, stand-alone messaging app called Anytime that’s compatible across desktop and mobile devices, according to Business Insider and first reported on by AFTVnews.
The app will likely be an all-in-one service, enabling users to send messages, photos, and videos with special filters, play games both with individuals and groups, and let users engage with other Amazon services like shopping, music, and food ordering, and chatting with businesses.
The launch of a messaging app makes sense for Amazon for a few reasons:
- Messaging apps can increase user engagement. Messaging apps are at the heart of the mobile experience. In the US, for instance, messaging was chosen as the most popular smartphone feature by 34% of survey respondents, according to Fluent. Amazon’s future Anytime app could enhance and facilitate engagement by keeping users on the Amazon platform.
- Consumers are turning to messaging apps to reach businesses. Almost half of US consumers say they prefer to use some form of messaging for customer service, according to Aspect. By rolling out a messaging app service, Amazon can offer an easy business-to-consumer (B2C) communication tool for users and brands, which could foster communication among Amazon partners and consumers.
- It paves the way to integrate Alexa in consumers’ everyday actions. AI requires data to function, and the more data coming in, the more powerful Alexa can become. If Amazon decides to tie in Alexa with the messaging app, this could provide Amazon a gateway into consumer interaction outside the lines of e-commerce.
Facebook is most at risk if Amazon’s chat app takes off. Both chat apps are vying for the same market. Facebook is working hard to turn Messenger into a first point of contact between consumers and businesses. However, Amazon’s strong ties with retailers, as well as its entrenched consumer brand, make it a real threat to Facebook.
But, Amazon is also facing stiff competition from entrenched players in the chat app market. Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger each have 1.2 billion monthly active users, which accounts for roughly 60% of the global chat app market, according to BI Intelligence estimates. To combat this, Amazon’s messaging app will likely include a unified communication feature, which means users can reach other users on any social network connected to Anytime. This allows Amazon to bypass traditional adoption hurdles in the messaging app market.